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What Happens When We Communicate Through Social Networking?(Electronic vs. Face-to-Face)

Updated on January 30, 2013

Many of us wonder how we ever survived without the convenience of texting, e-mail, and Facebook.These technologies allow us to easily communicate both personally and professionally while still juggling a busy schedule. However, though it is certain that electronic communication is a significant benefit, sometimes problems can arise.

Source

Do you think the Facebook post is prejudiced or offensive?

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My town has a Facebook page for the Moms so that everyone can share information that is useful and relevant to our town. Some of the common topics include: suggestions for competent people to do work on the house; information about the schools; and interesting activities for kids etc. Last week I woke up and saw this post:

"Just wondering...does anyone know why we get the Jewish Holidays off but never All Saints Day off? It would be great since Halloween is the night before!"

In case you are not familiar with the two holidays mentioned in the post, Yom Kippur is one of the most important Jewish holidays, meant as a day to atone for one's sins and to forgive others. It is a day to reflect on one's life and decide what changes need to be made. All Saints Day is a Christian (really a Catholic) holiday honoring all the saints, both known and unknown. This post appeared on Facebook the morning after Yom Kippur.

I am an open-minded person and would have been very upset if anyone made a statement that was disrespectful or prejudiced. But I interpreted the post as a valid question, and responded that I didn't know how the decisions were made about school vacations. Apparently others interpreted it differently, and saw the statement as very offensive and prejudiced toward people of the Jewish faith. This led to a huge debate, and ultimately to completely unnecessary but extremely vicious personal attacks against the poster, and finally the removal of the original post. I have to admit I secretly enjoyed all the excitement, at least until the personal attacks began. A good academic debate really wakes me up in the morning especially now that it's so dark when I get up to take the kids to school. But this became too vicious and hurtful.

As I saw it, the problem with this exchange was that it happened on Facebook rather than in person. That mean there was no way to interpret the true intent of the author through facial expressions or tone of voice. Many people that commented (including myself) did not not know this particular Mom. If we had we might have known if she was prone to prejudiced statements, was very insensitive, or actually too innocent to ever expect anyone to interpret it that way. Moreover, if they were facing her in person, they might have been more likely to give her the benefit of the doubt. Instead, many people on the forum chose to take offense or launch into a personal attack.

Source

Benefits of Electronic Communication

The benefits of electronic communication are numerous and more options are becoming available all the time.

  • We can communicate with people all over the world and leave messages any time of the day.
  • We can contact each other without feeling intrusive. If someone doesn't want to respond immediately they can wait or disregard the message completely.
  • We still have the option to communicate in real time through media such as Skype.
  • We can combine many types of media such as text and a video into one message.
  • We can communicate with people all over the world with services such as Facebook or email, without spending a penny!

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Benefits of Communicating in Person

  • Facial expressions and tone of voice make it easier to interpret intent.
  • Typing "LOL" just doesn't compare to having a laugh with a friend.
  • Responses are immediate, rather than dealing with the delays from texts or e-mails.
  • People can add meaningful non-verbal cues to their communication, such as a hand gesture, a hug or a gentle touch on the shoulder.
  • People are more likely to say what comes from the heart when they spend less time analyzing their response.

Source

I use various types of electronic communication on a regular basis and have to admit I can't remember what life was like without it. HubPages is just one of the fun ways that I enjoy interacting in addition to email and texting. Enjoy the benefits of these technologies, but don't forget to make time for valuable face-to-face contact. There will never be a substitute for comforting words followed by a big hug!

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    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @shakthive193...Thank you so much for reading this and the kind comment! I hope to see you again!

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      shakthivel93 4 years ago

      @healthylife2 : nice article very useful and interesting !!!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @alocsin...I agree that there are people I would not be in contact with very often if ever without electronic communication. Thanks for your comment and vote!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think electronic communications, especially through social networks, lets us keep in contact with friends that we may not see for years. So to me, it's a useful tool for keeping up relationships. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @barbergirl...That is a valid point that parents can still decide to give their kids the day off if they view it as an important holiday because each family observes their own holidays and decided what is important to them. I completely agree that often it is easier to communicate in writing because some things feel too awkward to say in person. It also gives me the opportunity to really think about a response and revise it so I can really communicate what I mean to say especially when I'm tired and not thinking fast:) Thanks so much for your comment and sharing!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      This is a very interesting hub. First off, I think the poster stated a valid question. I mean - who gets to decide which holidays are important. That being said, if you find it an important holiday, there is nothing saying you can't take it off. Sure, it might not be observed by schools or work, but you can still take it off. Unfair - yes - but I guess that is just life.

      Personally, I love being able to communicate through the written word. For me, I find that I am able to say more that way because I might say something I might not be able to say in person because I would be too embarrassed. Do I miss the in person contact - sometimes - but for me I communicate better this way. Then again - I guess that is why I am a writer! :)

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      E-mail me any time abbykorinnelee and I'm more than happy to provide my insight:) My e-mail should be by my profile.

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 4 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      LOL we really do, I have another issue that just came up yesterday I could probably use your insght

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I can totally relate to that abbykorinnelee! The funny thing is that if I say something apparently all the other players can hear if I'm loud enough so if he doesn't respond when I talk quietly I increase my volume and get a very quick response LOL. We will definitely have to keep in touch!

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 4 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      LOL if we can get through them past the technology...my pet peeve is when I am giving him something to do or having to REMIND MY TEENAGER to take a shower while he is in front of Xbox and he all of a sudden blurts out some stuff to some player about the game he is playing and acting like he didn't hear me..problem is he heard every word and repeats it back! LOL its soooo frustrating...we will have to keep in touch and compare notes because I am really confused half the time..I am a young mother of a teenager as I had him at 19. So, the generation gap shouldn't be the problem dang it:)

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      LOL...Good to know I'm not the only one dealing with the issue abbykorinnelee! When my son was staring at his computer as I was talking to him he couldn't comprehend why I told him he was being disrespectful. He acted like what I was saying was such a crazy concept and I was overreacting. Funny how other people can't comprehend how this behavior is disrespectful. I guess that explains some of the adults we encounter.I guess we change the world one child at a time..LOL

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 4 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      LOL I had to take my son to a therapist disguissed for just his ADHD because I got overwhelmed trying to teach him what I grew up just knowing...the last straw was when he didn't know why I kept saying he was so disrespectful...knew nothing about his body language or that he should stand or face the person he is talking to...yeah, the eye contact. Or about shaking someone's hand. I was apalled at his behavior though a lot of people didn't know what I was talking about he was "so polite and respectful". I said "Are you kidding? He is rude and disrespectful didn't you just see all that???" lol

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @abbykorinnelee...LOL...Love that story! Such a different generation and I have been forced to spell out the fact that in a restaurant it is rude to text while eating a meal.I have also had to explain that it's polite to make eye contact when someone is speaking to you instead of looking down at a text. I guess on the bright side we are willing to step up and teach our children basic courtesy.Electronics make their childhood more fun but there are definite limits:)

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 4 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      I still feel rude answering my phone if I am in public of any kind. My son and I were waiting for his ADHD therapy appoiontment and I reminded him he would have to turn the phone off for the next hour in the appointment and he about had a heart attack! WHY? He whined...well I explained why it was rude...he honestly didn't understand how that was rude?! His doctor even told him...its not like you are stopping mid sentence like in a face to face communication, you are just waiting until its convienant to respond, if it was that important they would call One of my father's employees was telling him that she told her daughter when they were talking in the car driving that she had to put away the phone because it was rude to text too...warned her if she saw it again she would throw it out the window onto the highway and she wouldn't get a new one until she got a job and could pay for it because she was tired of feeling so disrespected with the texting while she was trying to communicate with her kid...the phone came out and no joke the phone went out the window and as far as I know the kid still doesn't have one...lol

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @abbykorinnelee...Thank you so much for that insightful comment and adding a lot of value to this discussion! You understood my point perfectly. I'm so happy you were able to reconnect with someone that was significant in your life. That probably would not have happened without the benefit of electronic communication. I compltely agree that it is rude to text while interacting face to face and teach my children. I also have to remind my older son to see his friends more in person and not just just through x box communication. I also see many adults rudely text while having a conversation and had a doctor even do that one time.

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 4 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      It is beneficial when it comes to re-connecting with people you never would have been able to twenty years ago. I have reconnected with people from middle school. I connected with someone who used to be so important in my life and after an incident and I walked away (and shouldn't have) I hadn't talked to or seen in 15 years. Facebook, 3 weeks ago, made that connection possible and in a time of our lives that we may be able to still end up where we should have if I hadn't walked away. He is visiting next month...so yes, it is a great thing. But, it has taken place of handwritten letters that so many people would keep in boxes under their beds as memorbelia because they meant something. Communication is overwhelming with so many people that we have on these social networks. People misunderstand the tone behind a comment or status update when in person it would have had a different meaning because of body language and verbal cues. We text more than we have eye to eye communication. We text or facebook message and fail to dial a phone to hear the other's actual voice. We don't necessarily have the deep discussions, debates, etc. I think that children especially are actually not learning verbal cues, or how to read body language etc. They stand in circles silent texting each other. They text while talking to other people and don't see that it is rude. So there are good and bad things but in the end I think we just need to take it all in moderation and remember the old way of doing things too because they shouldn't be over run by technology.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @carriethomson...I completely agree that both forms of communication are beneficial in different ways.Thanks for your visit and insightful comment! I hope to see you again.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @tammyswallow...I have to agree that I don't miss playing telephone tag or not being able to accomplish things because I'm on the phone. Electronic communication can be done around our own schedule.Thank you so much for your comment!

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Both have there own importance, electronic communication and face to face communication.....one should enjoy both way as per the need and convenient ,electronic communication has benefit to talk anytime while face to face has to plan the meeting

      thanks for the useful topic discussed....

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I think so much gets lost in electronic communication. We can't read cues and body language. However, I enjoy not being chained to a phone for hours. I think it is ok as long as it doesn't replace real communication. This is a very interesting subject!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @dwachira...I can't argue with the fact that electronic communication is extremely practical and beneficial in both business and social situations and I use it all the time. I just want to remind others to make sure they don't forget to include the human touch in their life. Thank you so much for your vote and comment.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi healthylife2,

      Although E-communication lack the human interaction and even facial expression, it has emerged as the preferred way of communication especially in these days where tight schedule is the norm of the day. Everyday we rely on E-communication in one way or the other and although this has greatly reduced the human touch in social interaction we can't help it since benefits are more than what we miss. Great article, voted up and useful.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      You make a very good point Hyphenbird. The issue is also about the recipient of the communication and yes there are those that seem to find way to take offense at anything depending on their mood written or verbal. I couldn't comprehend how people found a way to take offense at an innocent question and felt the need to jump in and defend her. You couldn't be more right about the fact that those that have the inner self confidence don't feel the need to lash out at others. Thank you so much for adding that insightful comment.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I think all forms of communication are beneficial. People can become offended over anything, even "Hello, how are you?" Until we are secure in ourselves we will continue to read extra into whatever someone has expressed. I say let's enjoy them all!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hey Peachpower! It all begins around age 13. I think it was my oldest son spending so much time on the x box on weekends that inspired me to write this. Although he is talking to them online it is not the same and he seems to do this more often than seeing friends in person lately and it drives me crazy.LOL I wrote this of course from the online world of HubPages! Today I took a walk with a friend and laughed a lot so I think I needed the reminder of the value of real facetime. Thanks for reading and completely getting the point of this one!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @rajan jolly...You are so right that we have to find that balance and it is hard to say which came first. Thank you so much for your vote and I always appreciate your perceptive comments!

    • peachpower profile image

      peachpower 4 years ago from Florida

      Man, you always hit it right on the money. I've had several interesting debates about this topic recently (mostly because my 13 year old son has electronically segregated himself from the rest of the world), and in my personal opinion- we need both, but less of the electronic stuff. I think we're losing the human part of humanity hiding behind our computers, PDAs, etc. Funny, right, since we're all trying to scratch out a living of sorts online... I just think we need a little less faceBOOK and a little more faceTIME- and not the kind we can find on our Apple products. Great Hub!!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting pros & cons of electronic communication, healthylife. Technology has to keep pace with our changing needs and times or is it the other way around? Really difficult to say; though, I feel the former is more appropriate to say.

      Both personal interaction and electronic communication have become necessary today and though electronic communication has become so predominant, the importance of personal interaction can never be underestimated. It is a matter of striking a balance between the two.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      You are right Kashmir56 that face to face communication is often not possible so we do what we can and skype is definitely a good compromise. Thanks so much for the comment and vote! Always nice to see you!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great hub, even though face to face communication is always best sometimes that is not possible, so we need to use these types of communication with other we can not see face to face, or get skype .

      Vote up ans more !!!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @ignugent17...You are so right that there are many times it would be nice to communicate face to face but being able to communicate at all with people all over the world is nothing short of amazing! Thank you so much for your vote,support, and comment!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @mackyi...I agree that person to person communication is by far the best but I realize that often is not possible due to time and location. In person you really can't hide your emotions which can be good or bad depending on the situation. Thanks so much for the visit and comment! It is very much appreciated!

    • healthylife2 profile image
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      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @midget38...I completely agree that technology has definitely changed our lives for the better but spending time in person will always be valuable. Thank you so much for appreciating this article and commenting!

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      ignugent17 4 years ago

      This is very true. We still need to hug and shake hands. It is also really nice to see the person that we are talking to. Technology is already there and we have to use it. We are even lucky that we can communicate with our relatives and friends around the world.

      Sometimes it amazes me when I am chatting with friends in Malaysia, Dubai and the Philippines. It also makes me sad to think that it would be best if we were talking face to face.

      Thanks for this wonderful hub!

      Voted up, useful and interesting! :-)

    • profile image

      mackyi 4 years ago

      Although sometimes for the sake of convenience, I don't mind sending an electronic text message, I still think a person to person conversation would help me convey my messages more effectively. With a person to person communication you cannot be lied to; neither can you lie to a person that easily, if they are carefully paying attention to all non-verbal cues. You can hide the real emotion, tone of voice etc. with texting, but not during a person to person conversation!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      We need technology for the convenience these days, but it does take something away. We lack the personal touch, which is vital in preventing misunderstandings! Thanks for the write!!